Quarantine all foreigners in the desert, says Kuwait actress amid coronavirus outbreak

Quarantine all foreigners in the desert, says Kuwait actress amid coronavirus outbreak
Kuwaiti actress Hayat al-Fahad triggered an uproar when she said expats should be 'sent out' and 'put in the desert' to free up hospital beds.
2 min read
01 April, 2020
A famous Kuwaiti actress said foreigners should be kicked out amid the coronavirus outbreak [Twitter]

A famous Kuwaiti actress has sparked a furore by calling for expatriates to be expelled from the oil-rich nation so that locals can be sure of having a hospital bed if they fall ill with coronavirus.

Hayat al-Fahad, 71, who is known for playing a range of roles in Arabic dramas, told a local television station that foreigners in the country should be kicked out during the health crisis.

"We are fed up. If we get sick, there are no hospitals (for us)," she said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. 

"Why, if their countries do not want them, should we deal with them? Aren't people supposed to leave during crises?

"We should send them out... put them in the desert. I am not against humanity, but we have reached a stage where we're fed up."

Many people online criticised the actress' comments, with one Twitter user saying it was "so unacceptable". 

"How many Kuwaitis are outside Kuwait at the moment? Should everyone also apply her logic when it comes to them?" another person posted.

Social media users also pointed out the irony of Fahad's own background, saying she is originally Iraqi.

Kuwait has recorded some 317 cases of the COVID-19 disease so far, with no deaths, and there are no accounts of its medical system being overstretched. 

Special coverage: How many coronavirus cases are there in the Middle East?

It has adopted the strictest measures in the Gulf to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus by largely locking down the country.

Kuwait has also announced that it will treat COVID-19 patients - including non-Kuwaitis, who account for nearly 70 percent of the population - for free.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 40,000 people worldwide since the virus first appeared in China late last year.

The Middle East recorded more than 74,000 cases of coronavirus on Wednesday and 3,500 deaths, with Iran the hardest hit country.

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